Monday, 14 June, 2021

Drones, battle tanks… At Eurosatory, the impressive rise of armed robots

At the Eurosatory land defense fair, Nexter exhibits a robot equipped with a 20mm cannon, and MBDA announces a robot equipped with anti-tank missiles. The symbol of robotization of the battlefield.

Nexter's Optio X20 armed robot

Of course, it is not the size of the Leclerc tank (60 tons), or even the new Jaguar armored vehicle (25 tons) of the army. However, the Optio X20 robot, presented by Nexter at the Eurosatory land defense fair in Villepinte (June 11 to 15), is indeed a symbol: that of the entry of armed robots on the battlefield. This tracked machine of approximately one ton, based on the Themis ground robot of the Estonian Milrem Robotics, is equipped with a 20mm remotely operated cannon capable of piercing 3cm armor at a distance of 500m. Its hybrid engine (diesel-electric) allows it an autonomy of 8 to 10 hours. “It will help preserve the lives of soldiers in high intensity combat, and provide observation and fire support resources operated remotely under the control of the human operator,” said Nexter.

The land armament group is not the only European player to draw its armed robot. On June 12, the MBDA missile in turn unveiled its robot, the first machine in the world dedicated to anti-tank missions. Equipped with the new MMP missile (medium range missile), which has just entered service with the French army, the robot will be able to discreetly engage targets 4 km away. Based, like the Nexter robot, on the Themis platform of the Estonian Milrem Robotics, it will be capable of 90-minute operations in stealth mode, thanks to its hybrid engine which allows it to switch from diesel to electric. “The aim of our project is to develop a system with a low thermal signature, and even more importantly, to keep the infantry at a safe distance,” explains Alar Laneman, military advisor to Milrem Robotics.

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